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22 Apr 2018

Death penalty to child rapists- Cabinet approves ordinance

Minor, Rape, CrimeSNS Web | New Delhi | April 21, 2018 : The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday approved the ordinance, or emergency order, to introduce death penalty for child rapists.

The approval will clear way to award capital punishment to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age. Centre has cleared criminal law amendment ordinance which also includes POCSO Act as part of that amendment.

As per media reports, the Union Cabinet has also approved ordinance that will let the government confiscate property of economic offenders, who flee the country.

After a public outcry and anger over rising incidents of crimes against children in the country, the Centre in a letter submitted to Supreme Court (SC) on Friday, said that the process to amend the POCSO Act, 2012, has been initiated.

The Centre was responding to an PIL (Public Interest Litigation), which had sought maximum sentence of death penalty to those who are involved in rape and murder of children up to 12 years of age.

Parliament had passed the ‘Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Bill, 2011’ regarding child sexual abuse on 22 May 2012. The Act was framed to protect children from offences of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography and to provide a child-friendly system for the trial of these offences.

At present, there is no provision for capital punishment in the POCSO Act, with the maximum sentence being life imprisonment.

Earlier, Union minister Maneka Gandhi had asked her department to prepare a proposal for an amendment to the POCSO Act for the rape of a minor below the age of 12 years, saying tough punishment would act as a strong deterrent.

Tough punishment will act as a strong deterrent for such an offence, Maneka had said, while adding “toughening the law in 2015 for crimes committed by juveniles, including rape, had a desired effect”.

In 2015, Parliament passed a Bill which allows juveniles between 16 and 18 years of age to be tried as adults for serious crimes such as rape or murder.

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